De Buyer frying pan – seasoning a steel pan.

Posted: March 28th, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: cooking, third party product | Tags: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

I love these pans… I have the 32 cm and 24 cm and they are quite simply two of my favourite things. Since leaving home, I had like many others around the world I’m sure,  followed ‘commes de mouton’ (like sheep) the advice that ‘non-stick’ was the best choice for a frying pan. I guess people are deterred by the over-exaggerated level of care required to own and use a steel pan but I’ve found that the little bit of extra care and diligence is well worth it. Using a ‘proper’ frying pan and learning how to use it properly has improved my cooking ten fold. In fact I’ve found a new love for cooking now that my attempts result in more successes than failures.

A steel pan requires ‘seasoning’, a process of coating and sealing the steel with oil which creates a natural non-stick surface and protects the pan against oxidation, stopping rust and damage to the cooking surface. To be clear, the oil polymerizes into a thin, solid, plastic-like film over the surface of the porous steel. When the pan is heated, the film remains in-tact and creates the lovely non-stick properties that you so often see on pans in the hands of celebrity chefs. The trick to using a well seasoned pan is ensuring that when ready to cook, you add oil and heat it until very hot, but not smoking, before adding your food.

This is a video showing the making of the De Buyer Mineral B pans and how to season them.

Here is some information about seasoning and cleaning a steal pan:

To begin, clean the new pan, removing waxes or other packing or protective residues on the cooking surface. The De Buyer Mineral B pan is coated with bees wax and to remove this we heat it up; add boiling water, boil for a couple of minutes, empty the water; sponge it with dish washing liquid; wipe out with paper towel. Repeat if necessary.

Seasoning: Cover the bottom of the pan with a couple millimeters of oil and using you fingers run some of the oil around the sides of the pan up to the rim. We use sunflower oil for this but you can use any oil with a high smoke point. Peanut, canola, vegetable, they will all do the job. Heat the oil on high heat until the oil starts to smoke. Remove from heat, pour out excess oil and let it cool. When the pan is completely cool, wipe the pan evenly with paper towel and the seasoning process is complete.

Cleaning: The trick to cleaning is to add very hot water to the very hot pan after cooking, rest it for a few seconds, empty the water and then wipe with paper towel. You can clean the pan with a sponge and small amount of liquid soap but you must be careful not to scrub away the seasoning. Also, it is not a good idea to put your pan in the dishwasher or to leave the pan to soak in a sink. In both instances you will encourage rust and if done repeatedly over a long period of time it will create pits in the steel.

If I am not going to use the pan for two or more days, I give the pan a light coat in oil for storage, this gives it extra protection against rust.

18 Comments on “De Buyer frying pan – seasoning a steel pan.”

  1. 1 erica said at 01:57 on September 8th, 2012:

    i have been cleaning and seasoning my pan with every use just as you (and others) describe, but it inexplicably gets a film of rusty powder on it after EVERY use. i can’t understand it. this pan is driving me crazy. the only thing i can think might explain it is i live in the tongass national rainforest. if i can figure out how to get it looking good again i am getting rid of it.

    just had to vent i guess!

  2. 2 Aaron said at 16:47 on January 7th, 2013:

    @erica, De Buyer pans don’t look good after using. They continue to season and darken after each use. If you are looking for shiny, show pans you should probably get something else. These are workhorse pans that heat evenly, hold heat and are naturally non-stick after seasoning.

  3. 3 Kathryn said at 18:01 on January 7th, 2013:

    Erica. After washing, dry the pan with a towel. Pour a drop of oil into the pan and using a paper towel smear the oil over the cooking surface and over the interior walls. This will prevent the steel from rusting. When it comes time to use the pan again, take another piece of paper towel and give the pan a wipe out, the pan will be ready for normal use. Yes, a more humid environment will make the pan rust more, we have the same problem here. Without the oil coating my steel pan will start to rust within the hour. Happy cooking!

  4. 4 mycookinghut said at 19:17 on August 29th, 2013:

    So this one you have is 32cm in diameter. I want to ask what is the diameter of the cooking surface?

  5. 5 Kathryn said at 19:28 on August 29th, 2013:

    Hello! Yes it is supposed to be 32 but is actually 31.7 cm and the cooking surface is 23 cm. It doesn’t sound very large but I find it to be more than adequate. It gets used multiple times a day and is really the most wonderful pan.

  6. 6 mycookinghut said at 19:44 on August 29th, 2013:

    By the way, I couldn’t make up my mind to buy either 28cm or 32cm. I haven’t seen these in real but just online. Do you think 28cm is too small? As I have a 24cm pan (not de Buyer).

  7. 7 Kathryn said at 20:05 on August 29th, 2013:

    It totally depends on what you cook and how many people you cook for. There are only two of us in our household and I have found this size to be perfect for most things. But it is certainly too big if you only want to cook a single filet for example. I also have a De Buyer 24 cm that I use for small jobs or a single person serve and the 32 for everything else. I would say though, if you cook on the lesser quantity side then it might be best to go for the 28cm. I find that you increase your risk of hitting the oil smoke point if you don’t have the surface evenly distributed in food and for this reason I have been thinking about getting one in between the two I have. Also, if you like to move the pan around a lot then the 28cm might be also better for that. The 32cm is heavy and I often have to touch it down when serving. You’ll be thrilled with either. Just wanted to point out that my pans look absolutely nothing like this anymore … they are perfectly seasoned and dark golden brown to black all over! I’d love to hear how you go with it once you’ve had it in use ….

  8. 8 Kathryn said at 20:25 on August 29th, 2013:

    @mycookinghut I just had a look around your beautiful website and will grab a copy of your book. I’m trilled that you popped by … it’s lovely to meet you!

  9. 9 mycookinghut said at 19:42 on August 30th, 2013:

    Hello Kathryn,

    Thanks for your response! There are 2 of us in the household. I was just worried that 32cm might be too big and heavy for me that 28cm might be more suitable.

    I used to have one 24cm (non-stick) but my other half put it in the dishwasher and you could imagine what happened. *sigh*

    I think, I kind of more keen to get 28cm. In addition, 24cm too. And in the future, if 28cm has become too small, then I can always get 32cm.

    I have given up on non-stick. I believe De Buyer mineral pan will change my life.

    Did it take long for your to season the pan? I will definitely keep you posted when I have had used mine. :)

    By the way, it’s great to meet you by chance too as I was looking for De Buyer mineral pan and it brought me to your page. :) And thanks for your compliment on my blog! Would be great to know what you think of my cookbook! :)

  10. 10 Aaron said at 23:46 on November 6th, 2013:

    Thank you… your high quality pics of this pan have been a big help. I just ordered 2 of these pans (26 and 32) from who have them at 50% off, but have been worried that, with the long handle, I’d have trouble getting the 32 in my oven (a Bertazzoni, which I love, but is only 24″ across). Your pics clearly show the pan, and I think I’m good. Have been mainly using cast iron (omelettes are challenging), and can’t wait to get to work with these.

  11. 11 Brielle said at 00:46 on January 3rd, 2014:

    So what do we do if the pan develops some rust on it? I’ve been trying to find somewhere that tells me how to deal with that. With regular cast iron i can sand it off no problem and re-season but with carbon steel i’m not sure.

  12. 12 Kathryn said at 21:43 on January 7th, 2014:

    Hi Brielle … I’ve only had experience with light rust which I resolved by washing with a soap-free sponge and then followed normal oiling/greasing/seasoning procedures. You could try using salt as an abrasive, I use it often to remove hardened bits of food. It works every time. Warm the pan a little, sprinkle salt over the cooking surface and using a paper towel, rub it on the effected areas. There’s loads of practical pan care advice here in this forum thread: I hope that’s helpful! Have a good week!

  13. 13 Dr Calamaro said at 01:58 on January 30th, 2014:

    Hi Brielle,

    In answer to your query, I would avoid ‘sanding’ your pans down or using other harsh abrasives although you can handwashed mild steel ones in hot soapy water (unlike cast iron) as long as you rinse well and reseason afterwards….
    Simply put, unlike cast iron, that is to some degree porous and absorbs some of the seasoning mild steel only forms a thin film of carbonised fat on the surface. Think of it as the difference between a paint finish and an oil finish on wood. Therefore, a light coating of rapeseed oil heated up on the hob for say 15 minutes will be fine if you ever need to reseason it (or if like me you start a collection ;) )

    …And what is the best way to deal with rust on mild steel pans… use salt or ‘silver sand’ + citric acid – it doesn’t have to be kosher as most pans these days are made from agnostic metals anyway… ;)

    Warm the pan, no too hot, add the salt (& citric acid if you need it) to the pan and lightly ‘scrub’ with a paper towel or a ‘wok brush’ until the pan looks clean and rust free. Depending how bad the pan is the salt might turn grey. Just tip it out and carry on with some fresh stuff until the pan is clean/rust free and the salt stays nice and white :)

  14. 14 Margot said at 20:13 on February 17th, 2014:

    Hi! I think i didn’t clean the bee wax from my pan enough. I tried to season the pan and it got really dark and the surface is a bit bubbly. What can I do?

  15. 15 Brynulf said at 06:43 on September 16th, 2014:

    hi. I have a de buer pan that I have used some months, and it is turning nice and black. the problem is that it still sticks. not just a little bit, but it is almost impossible to use. I think I have done everything by the book, but probebly I have done something wrong. It looks like it is suppose to I guess, but….. Any idea what causes it to stick so much?

  16. 16 Claudio said at 20:43 on November 26th, 2014:

    I’m wondering why the original beeswax coating should be removed and replaced by vegetal oil.
    Bees wax offers an excellent protection and much better nonstick results than oil. And is much healthier …

  17. 17 Lisa Landon said at 20:36 on November 30th, 2014:

    HELP! My husband left my new pan to air-dry last night and it is covered in surface rust, of course. I don’t have any plain steel wool, only SOS pads. Will heating coarse salt take it off??

  18. 18 Teun K. said at 20:09 on December 21st, 2014:


    I have a De Buyer Carbone and I’m struggling with seasoning, does anyone have any suggestions? I’ve seen a few videos with woks but I can’t get this to work..

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